Game of Thrones returns this month with Season 7, and now that episode descriptions for the first three installments of the season have been released, fans have a few ideas of where the season is heading. For starters, Daenerys will land in the ancestral Targaryen home of Dragonstone right off the bat, placing her very close to Cersei in King's Landing after painstakingly wandering through Essos for six whole seasons. But there are still some very important questions Game of Thrones Season 7 needs to answer as this year's shortened season ramps up. (Don't worry; fans have been promised episodes with run times well over an hour to make up for only getting seven of them this season.)
With just one more shortened season to go after this one before the television adaptation concludes for good, showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss are left to wrap up loose threads at a breakneck pace before time runs out. Season 6 already did the work of revealing Jon Snow's true parentage, reuniting two (sort of) Stark siblings, and hitting fast forward on winter coming with Bran's constant, unregulated warging. So what's left to cover? There are still a ton of things that have been left unanswered. Here are the big questions going into Season 7.
1. Is Tyrion A Targaryen?
This will likely be the worst-kept-secret of the season, much like the revelation last year that Jon was a Targaryen, as the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar. There's a theory that Tyrion is actually the son of Joanna Lannister and Mad King Aerys, which could give him a claim to the throne as Aerys' eldest living son.
2. Where Is Gendry?
We haven't seen Arya's friend Gendry since Season 3, when he was seen escaping from Dragonstone. But after the Stannis family bloodbath in Season 6, he's the only living Baratheon left. (Remember, Gendry is Robert's son, who had to escape the purge of his father's bastards way back in Season 1.) Gendry has an oft-overlooked claim to the Iron Throne and just might be able to wrest control away from Cersei.
3. Will Nymeria Return?
Arya chased off her direwolf back in Season 1 after it bit Joffrey and she feared it may be put to death. But direwolves are fiercely loyal and Arya is closer to Winterfell than she's ever been since the first season. Might Nymeria sniff out her long-lost owner when she returns to her homeland?
4. Will Lady Stoneheart Appear?
In the books, Catelyn Stark is resurrected by the sacrifice of Beric Dondarrion and becomes known as Lady Stoneheart. She carries with her the scar of Catelyn's slit throat, can't speak, and is a deathly gray color, presumably a side-effect of Catelyn's grisly death. Lady Stoneheart basically goes on a revenge killing spree targeting anyone who was involved with the Red Wedding. But several people involved in production insist that Lady Stoneheart won't appear on GoT. (Though, in fairness, they've lied about stuff like that before.)
5. Will Daenerys Or Jon Snow Rise To Power?
Jon Snow is King of the North, while Dany is hellbent on taking over the Iron Throne. Now that we know she's his aunt, will they team up as allies? It's certainly what fans are hoping for.
6. Will The Surviving Starks Reunite?
Jon and Sansa are already together in Winterfell, but Bran and Arya are still at large. Will all the Stark children finally make their way back home now that the Battle of the Bastards is over and Winterfell is safe for them once more? It's probably the only image more heartwarming than Arya and Nymeria reuniting.
7. How Many More People Will Arya Cross Off Her Kill List?
Still left on Arya's kill list are Ser Illyn Payne (who beheaded her father), Cersei (for obvious reasons), The Hound (who killed Mycah, although he and Arya struck up an almost-friendship in the end), The Mountain (responsible for the atrocities at Harrenhal), Melisandre (who took Gendry), and Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr (who sold Gendry to Melisandre). But will Arya's kill list still matter to her once she's safely back in her homeland with her surviving siblings?
8. Will The White Walkers Move Past The Wall?
Winter is here, the Night's Watch is undermanned, and Bran may have unwittingly unlocked some powerful ice magic that lets wights either pass the wall or destroy it. It definitely doesn't look good for the living, but at least Daenerys reaches Westeros with her dragons soon. (The only thing known to kill White Walkers is all things dragon — Valyrian steel, dragonglass, etc.)
9. What Will Happen To Cersei?
At the end of Season 6, a childless Cersei Lannister sat atop the Iron Throne. But she just murdered the entire noble class of King's Landing, her last surviving child committed suicide, and it's really, really hard to imagine who's left in her corner. Even Jaime might be fed up with his sister, considering that her actions led directly to the death of their last remaining child together.
10. What's Sansa's Next Move?
Sansa is finally safe from Ramsay Bolton once and for all, but she's still pretty visibly frustrated that Jon Snow doesn't take her seriously as an authority on the culture and battle strategies of The North. She exchanged a chilly look with Littlefinger when Jon was named King of the North, although she also turned down Littlefinger's marriage proposal, so it's unclear whether these two will become allies or not. It seems like Sansa will have some soul-searching ahead of her this season.
11. Who Is Azor Ahai?
It seems inevitable that the Prince That Was Promised will eventually return to help save Westeros and end up being someone that viewers already know. Jon Snow did literally just come back to life, so it certainly could be him. But then there's Dany and even Davos. So let's get to the bottom of this once and for all, shall we?
For the answers to these questions and more, you can tune into Game of Thrones when it returns to HBO for Season 7 on July 16.